The most interesting aspect of yesterday’s Red C poll, was the 80 plus per cent in favour of legislating on the circumstances in which an abortion might be legally reformed in the Republic. That would put some pure green (not to mention socially liberal) water between the north and the south on the matter. Only 10% said No, and a mere 5% Don’t Know.
But on the political front, there’s been some interesting shifts in government ratings, with Fine Gael dipping below 30% of sentiment for only the second time since taking office. Hardly surprising since this budget is being cast in the media as the worst in the history of the state, and the gap to be plugged is the largest in any of the 27 states of the EU.
As Dan O’Brien notes, the government is in the icy grip of the Troika, at least in the terms of the headline targets:
On top of the €24 billion in cuts and new taxes that have been introduced since the crisis began, and the coming €3.5 billion slated for 2013 – the details of which will be unveiled on Wednesday – a €3.1 billion package must be introduced in 2014 and one of €2 billion in 2015.
If the Government is tightly constrained on the size of each budget adjustment over the medium term, it has much more freedom to determine the composition of budgets. While some measures, such as a property tax, must be introduced under the bailout terms, the detail of most new tax and spending measures is for the Coalition to decide.
It seems likely that the wrangling within the Department of Health (and the Health Minister’s inability to reign in a burgeoning health budget) has hit Fine Gael hard with its hard won voters from Fianna Fail.
If there’s a silver lining it is that the balance of FG’s loss appears in the Independents column rather than back with FF. In fact there’s no real change anywhere else.
For their part, Fianna Fail will bag the ‘best rating since before the general election’ line they are getting in the media without too much comment (since at 20% that was at the time a huge shock – and largely unbelieved – rating), and take some comfort from the fact that the trend lines are softly narrowing:
Thanks to GuthanPhobail for the great trend data…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty